Church Abuse

Fighting for Survivors of Church Sexual Abuse in Connecticut

Giving priest sexual abuse survivors a voice and helping them heal

Tremont & Sheldon has represented well over 150 survivors of clergy childhood sexual abuse against the Bridgeport Diocese, Hartford Diocese and other religious institutions. We have given these survivors a voice and helped in their healing process and ability to move forward. We were one of the first law firms in the entire United States to stand up to these institutions and tell them what they allowed to happen was wrong. We continue to represent the courageous survivors who continue to come forward and believe it is our duty to make sure they are heard and allowed to heal.


To date, Tremont & Sheldon has represented over 150 survivors of childhood sexual abuse against area dioceses and religious institutions. Please see the Church Timeline of Cases and Church Priests for more in-depth information regarding these cases.  We provide a brief summary below:

  • In March of 2001, Tremont & Sheldon reached a confidential global settlement with the Diocese of Bridgeport and its predecessor bishop, Cardinal Edward Egan, on behalf of 24 individuals, most of whom had lawsuits pending for over eight years.
  • Then in October of 2003, Tremont & Sheldon reached a $21 million global settlement with the Diocese of Bridgeport on behalf of 40 additional victims.
  • In October 2005, Tremont & Sheldon reached a $22 million global settlement with the Archdiocese of Hartford on behalf of 43 individuals, of whom Tremont & Sheldon represented 15 of the victims.
  • In years after first 3 global settlements, Tremont & Sheldon has settled additional childhood clergy abuse claims apart from these mediations.
  • Presently (2013), we continue to represent additional sex abuse survivors against area dioceses and other religious institutions.

Please contact the sexual abuse victim attorneys at Tremont & Sheldon to confidentially and sensitively hear about your case.


Related Results


Online Resources - Clergy Abuse

  • Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) – The nation's largest, oldest and most active support group for women and men wounded by religious authority figures (priests, ministers, bishops, deacons, nuns, and others). SNAP is an independent and confidential organization, with no connections with the church or church officials.
  • Bishop Accountability – Documenting the abuse crisis in Roman Catholic Church.
  • Case Study – Boston.com – A comprehensive investigative report with abuse allegations and victim testimonials.
  • pokrov – A resource for survivors of abuse in orthodox churches.

Online Resources - Victim Support Groups for Child Sexual Abuse

  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse – Individual and group support program for adult survivors of physical, sexual, and/or emotional child abuse or neglect.
  • Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc. – CONNSACS is a statewide coalition of individual sexual assault crisis programs, which work to end sexual violence through victim assistance, community education, and public policy advocacy.
  • Wounded Healer – TWHJ is the oldest point of presence on the web for psychotherapists and others who have experienced the devastation of trauma including child abuse.
  • The Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Program – The mission of the SCAN Program is to provide comprehensive medical and psychosocial care in a culturally sensitive manner to children who have experienced acute sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect.
  • Yale New Haven Hospital Child Sexual Abuse Program – The Yale Child Abuse Program provides evaluation and treatment of all types of child maltreatment.

Common Questions About Church Abuse

I do not want my identity revealed. Is there a way that I can file a claim and remain anonymous?

You can ask permission from the Court to file your case under a pseudonym (e.g., Jane Doe or John Doe). It is up to the judge to grant or deny your request.

 


If there is a criminal case presently pending against the perpetrator, can I still file a civil suit?

 

Yes. The two cases can proceed at the same time, but there may be reasons to wait, if possible, until the criminal case has concluded.

 


What is the difference between criminal and civil cases? Is there a different burden of proof?

Many people know that the burden of proof (or evidence needed to prove the case) in a criminal case is beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal cases require a very high standard because being found guilty of a crime is at stake as well as the potential to go to jail. In a civil case, no one is accused of a crime and cannot be found guilty. Instead, the question in a civil case is whether a person was negligent and responsible for damages to another. The burden of proof in a civil case, for example a motor vehicle accident, is lower (easier to prove) than in a criminal case. The standard is “more likely than not” the person was at fault or proof of just over 50% to win the case.

 


What is the statute of limitations with regard to filing a sexual abuse claim?

Under current Connecticut law, any person who claims damages as a result of being sexually abused, sexually assaulted, or sexually exploited as a child has until 30 years past the age of majority (typically until age 48) in which to file a claim in court. However, if you claim damages as a result of being sexually assaulted as an adult, then you have a much shorter time period in which to file a lawsuit. Typically you have three years from the date of the assault to file against the perpetrator for his or her intentional acts and two years from the date of the assault to file against any other person or entity (e.g., perpetrator's employer) who may have been negligent in allowing the perpetrator to have contact with you.


Who are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse?

Under Connecticut law, the following people are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse: doctors, nurses, medical examiners, dentists, dental hygienists, psychologists, coaches, school teachers, school principals, school guidance counselors, school paraprofessionals, social workers, police officers, juvenile or adult probation and /or parole officers, members of the clergy, pharmacists, physical therapists, optometrists, chiropractors, podiatrists, mental health professionals, physician’s assistants, certified EMT providers, certified drug and alcohol counselors, licensed marital and family therapists, sexual assault and/or battered women’s counselors, paid child care providers in public or private facilities, child day care centers, licensed group and /or family day care centers, employees of the Department of Children and Families or the Department of Public Health if responsible for licensing day care centers homes or youth camps or the Office of Child Advocate and the Child Advocate.

Any person so identified who in the course of his or her employment or profession has reasonable cause to believe or suspect that a child has been abused or neglected or has been inflicted with nonaccidental injuries or is at imminent risk of serious harm must report or cause a report to be made in accordance with state law. Violation of the law will result in a monetary fine and required participation in an educational and training program. See Connecticut General Statutes Sections 17-101(b); 17a-101a.


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Bridgeport, CT 06604

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203-335-5145

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